It was a surprisingly easy answer for Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti to give.
When asked which career accomplishment ranked higher, pitching a no-hitter on the Fourth of July against the Boston Red Sox in Yankee Stadium in 1983 or coaching a pitching staff to a world championship, Righetti didn’t hesitate.
“The no-hitter is an important one-day feat,” Righetti replied. “But to do this [help win a world championship] for my hometown team, it’s awesome and definitely ranks higher.”
The 52-year-old native of San Jose and alum of Pioneer High School, who has been the Giants’ pitching coach since 2000, grew up rooting for the Giants and the A’s and eventually wound up pitching for both teams during his playing career.
So being a part of the first Giants team to win the World Series in San Francisco, the Giants won five championships while based in New York, is very special to Righetti.
“I still pinch myself every once in awhile,” Righetti said. “It just gave me a chill when you put it like that.”
Like the rest of the team, Righetti has spent the offseason enjoying the fruits of their 2010 labors, but as a coach, he is already looking ahead to the upcoming defense of their title. Combining the regular and postseasons, the Giants’ pitching staff piled up nearly 1,600 innings of work over 177 games.
“They had a long year,” Righetti said. “Most of them haven’t been through that before. It’s something we’ll talk about and certainly will be watching.”
But Righetti isn’t so much worried about the shorter turnaround the Giants have opposed to most of the other teams, nor does he think any arm issues will arise early in the upcoming season.
“If any problems pop up, it will be later in the season,” Righetti said. “We’ll have to see if they develop any issues in the shoulder or elbow joints. We just need to keep an eye on that.”
Two pitchers, Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum each surpassed 200 innings last year, while Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez each threw more than 190. In game appearances, Brian Wilson and Javier Lopez each surpassed 70 while Sergio Romo had 68.
“200/70 are really just psychological numbers,” Righetti said. “But pitchers do think about them. You just have to get ready and either you handle it or you know someone else will be brought in who can.”
Righetti credited the Giants’ front office for putting together an incredible staff.
“They really put this whole team together very well,” Righetti said. “They’ve given us this chance to do this.”
As for the future, Righetti will remain as the Giants’ pitching coach but wouldn’t mind putting on the manager’s hat one day.
“Certainly, you want to be a manager at this level,” Righetti said. “Maybe first I’ll move up to bench coach and manage in the minors.”
But first, Righetti wants to see if he and his pitchers can duplicate last year’s results in 2011.
“It all comes down to their arms,” Righetti said.
The Giants’ pitching staff endured a much longer season than normal while capturing the World Series title.
1,600 Innings Giants pitchers threw over the 2010 regular season and postseason
4 Giants pitchers that started 33 regular-season games: Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez
4 Giants pitchers who threw more than 190 innings: Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez
1,331 Combined strikeouts by the Giants’ pitching in the 2010 regular season